Toddler Sleep Problems

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Sleep can be a very challenging parenting issue and is not uncommon for toddlers to have sleep problems. For some parents, getting their toddlers to bed is the issue. For others, it is keeping them in bed. Some toddlers fall asleep and stay asleep but only if they are in their parents’ bed. All of these scenarios can be challenging for parents and children and can cause serious health problems for both.

Dr. Denise Duval, PhD, LCSW, a children’s issue expert, has written an article “Toddler Sleep Problems” and helps parents better understand their children. Dr. Duval helps children make meaning of their experiences in order to work through what troubles them.

In this article she explains that it is important to try and understand what is behind the toddler sleep issues. When children’s sleep is frequently deregulated, this suggests there is something going on with them physically or emotionally. They may not be able to verbalize how they feel but their behavior is speaking for them.

There are myriad reasons why toddlers experience sleeping problems, including:

  • Physical health problems, illness (e.g., earache, toothache, allergies, swollen glands, problems with elimination)
  • Recent transitions (e.g., starting daycare/school, moving, room change)
  • Change in the family dynamics (e.g., birth of a sibling, relative moving into the home, sibling with a disability, physical or behavioral problem)
  • Family stressors (e.g., parental chronic illness, taking care of an sick relative, employment issues, financial concerns)
  • Parental relationship problems (e.g., divorce, separation, marital discord)
  • Parental mood and behaviors (e.g., anger, frustration, sadness, fear, worry, anxiety; withdrawal, aggression, substance use, excessive absence from the home)
  • Death (e.g., death of a loved one or pet)
  • Loss (e.g., friend moving away, loss of favorite blanket, toy or pacifier)

To read the article in full, click here.

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